We got pretty close to one female and I photographed her briefly as she covered her nest. The laying had been done and her job was nearly complete as the sun came up. A few loose eggs were found along the beach at other nests, and wouldn't last long as the town's dogs and black vultures started to appear as the light gradually increased. We were on a tight schedule, so it was a brief stop before heading off up into the jungle to look for our next (and main) target.- the endemic Trinidad piping guan. At one stage this was the islands only endemic, but with recent splits I'm not sure if this is still true. It is currently classified as critically endangered, with a suggested population size of 70-200 individuals, making it a good bird to see.
So we headed up into the forest, bordering the Matura National Park and stopped at a regular spot for them. There perched in the top of a tree some way off was a guan! Perfect! Another bird joined it shortly after and managed a few record shots before a rain storm hit and everything dived for cover. We waited it out and it gradually stopped, so we headed on a bit further and came to an area with small plantations of bananas, etc. We heard some calling a wee way off and walked down a track spotting a few other things - red-crested woodpecker, plumbeous kite, white-flanked antwren, etc. We heard the guans calling back towards the vehicle, and as we approached there was a pair of them in the cecropia tree above the vehicle! Managed some better shots and they were kind of displaying to each other with their crests up. Pretty cool.
They moved off and we continued looking around, finding a few other things - smooth-billed ani, Guianan trogon, blue black grassquit, and even a ferruginous pygmy owl. Heard LOTS of these over the last days here, but they are damn hard to find! We then found another three guans perched, and could hear several of them calling around the place, a rather weak and weird piping call for such a large bird, but the best is the noise they make with their wings! Sounds like a really old tractor starting up! Very cool. We spent some more time watching them and looking for other things and as it started to heat up we decided to head back towards home.
On the way we drove along the beautiful NE coast, stunning beaches, with a lot of turtle tracks on them too. We managed to pick up a few birds on the way home, a few more plumbeous kites, a ringed kingfisher, and just as we got to Mt Benedict a grey hawk. What a great morning. Back in time for a shower and lunch, only to discover MORE chigger bites. Despite the deet soaked skin, socks and pants, and pants tucked into socks they still get me! Whats up with that??!!
|A leatherback turtle egg lies on the sand, having missed being buried with its 'siblings'|
|Female leatherback turtle covering up her precious eggs|
|Female leatherback turtle with sand caught in the 'tears' from her eye|
|Leatherback turtle leathery back|
|Covering the nest|
|The distant view of a Trinidad piping guan|
|Pair of guans with crests raised|
|Smooth-billed ani sunning itself|
|Spot the ferruginous pygmy owl!|
|Nice portrait of the guan|
|The area we found these birds|
|Which is to the left in this photo showing the plantation|
|Part of the Mutura National Park, one of the strongholds of these birds|